While stationed in Europe ('81-'83) I became infected with HIV/AIDS but, it was not until moving back to America (summer of 1983) that I needed to get tested. The result was: "You're HIV+ and need to get your affairs in order, you'll be dead by the end of the year." Welcome to America and civilian life.
However, a funny thing happened on the way to my coffin, I lived - and without meds. Because I was alive and "well" I suffered the horrors and stigma of The HIV Witch Hunts that the gay community organized, and like thousands of other HIV+ gay men, I kept my HIV+ status hidden. Until the mid 1990's when I became fed up with hiding and wanted to live my live out in the open, and with an HIV+ boyfriend. Someone to share my HIV+ concerns with, someone to share my joys with - someone to share my life with.
But HOW do I find someone on my own terms and WITHOUT the cold, clinical intervention? I began taking long walks along the trails of The Hudson River and the Amtrak railway near 200th Street and Broadway in the Inwood section of Manhattan, NYC. I wrote down thoughts, concerns and HIV Status Disclosure issues on a pad of paper and came up with this (and with the fear of arrest and lawsuits) Publicly advertised gay sex parties founded on HIV Status and using the freedom of the internet as both outreach and communication tools. HIV Prevention in America was changed forever by defending our sexual Freedom Of Choice.
And so it began...
August 12, 1996: Chris Hayes was in charge of the SUBCLUTURE SECTION of NEXT MAGAZINE (a free gay publication here in New York City, NY) and he approved my written request to publish free sex party ads in the magazine. Those ads were for BOY TOYS - NY a private safe sex party exclusively for HIV-negative gay youth (18-24), and BRANDON'S POZ PARTY - NYC, a private sex party for HIV+ gay men. His fax # was 212.627.0633.
Brian Gately was in charge of the GETTING OFF Section of HX Magazine (another free gay publication here in New York City, NY), and his fax # was 212.627.5290. Brian approved of the same two ads and as a result, the HIV Prevention / Harm Reduction Strategies of Serosorting and Safe Sex Serosorting go public.
Thus, BRANDON'S POZ PARTY - NY and BOY TOYS - NY were officially made public and HIV prevention, status disclosure, awareness, education, outreach, social and sexual choices in America changed. The internet played a key role in making the parties international, and the result is the social and sexual behavioral change YOU enjoy today.
Over the following years, the two HIV related sex parties grew in popularity thanks to the internet, and the fact that New York City, NY was (and still is) a major tourist, business and lay over city. It also helped that "The City" is the largest city on the North American continent.
Sometime in 1999, Jay Jimenez replaced Chris at NEXT, and Mark Liberman replaced Brian at HX
August 1999 - While hosting BOY TOYS - NY and while the party was IN PROGRESS, I get a knock on the door - two gay men ask to come in and talk to me in private. I was told that I will be shut down and arrested at THAT MOMENT if I did not shut down BOY TOYS - NY. They said "HIV-negative people do not exist" and that I am "creating an environment of high risk". However, this is a safe sex party and Christian Grove at C.H.E.S.T. supplied me with shopping bags of free condoms. BOY TOYS - NY was sadly disbanded but NOT without a fight. (see pix on left - click to enlarge)
The internet picked up where the physical party ended, and today you enjoy the "online version" of the party. Where do YOU think the D&D FREE, HIV-UB2 and Safe Sex Serosorting (having safe sex with your own HIV status) idea came from? ("UB2" meaning and history)
Email from C.H.E.S.T. September 1999 - "Again, I wanted to thank you for distributing our safer sex packets at your Boy Toys - NY parties for the past 3 years, and also give you information on a new study we are starting that is just for HIV+ men. Our new study is called "ACE Adherence through Counseling and Education." It is specifically for HIV+ men who are having trouble taking their HIV meds and also use Crystal meth. We appreciate all your help on this. It is so wonderful that community activists like you and researchers can work closely together for the greater good. Best of luck in your move out west.*'
Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST) of Hunter College
250 West 26th Street, Ste 300
New York, NY 10001
*"out west' refers to me taking Brandon's POZ Party annually out west to CAMP PALM SPRINGS, Palm Springs, California
April 2002 - OUT Magazine publishes an article written by Steve Weinstein titled: POSITIVE THINKING on page 48, thereby making the concept of social and sexual behavioral change based on HIV status a national movement over night. The article tells how HIV+ and HIV-negative gay men are willfully disclosing their HIV status to others, forming social and sexual relationships and communicating with "code" words online. Brandon's POZ Socials - NYC become the foundation of a national HIV+ Online movement and set the standard for decades to come.
"Certainly, many HIV-negative men remain concerned enough about their health to improve their encounters with other HIV-negative men. Just check out the code words in AOL profiles; "SAFE ONLY", HEALTHY", "DISEASE AND DRUG FREE" (D&D FREE) , "NEGATIVE-UB2" (HIV-UB2)".
2002 - MANHUNT.net becomes the first for-profit MSM (men who have sex with men) gay hook-up website allowing members to publicly disclose their HIV status in their profiles. Profile HIV status choices are: HIV+, HIV-negative and Don't Know. In 2004, Dr. Robert Grant (Gladstone Researcher, UCSF ) publishes the worlds FIRST official Serosorting research study in San Francisco, California, proving that the gay community is actively engaged in: Communication, Respect, Understanding and is UNIFIED in our efforts to physically break the cycle of new HIV transmissions. (See Gladstone PDF on left)
September 11, 2001 (9/11) - The World Trade Center, NYC gets hit and the news goes global. However, one of the untold stories gets lost as well, the NDRI HIV+ MSM research data from Brandon's POZ Party. The innovative research study focused on HIV+ MSM, barebacking (unsafe sex) and party drugs - a first in the nation and what would become the springboard of countless studies worldwide. The NDRI offices moved to 23rd Street in NYC and the study moved forward - here is the PUBLISHED report (Feb. 2005). My name is on the last page under ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. The research continues in 2006 with surveys in English and Spanish. (See NDRI English PDF and NDRI Spanish PDF on left for details)
SPECIAL NOTE: pdf files to be offered about my Columbia University HIV Center interview (2004) shortly.
and Peter LaQuare I said "HELLO")
From 2002 to 2008 - While online with Bareback Jack,"If you know that you're HIV+ Positive, then we recommend that you follow the example already set in the US by Brandon, of Brandon's POZ Parties fame, and in the UK by B.J. (PitPigMen, PPM Xtra, and Boar Hole parties). These major party hosts are HIV+Positive and invite only other POZ men to their orgies -- in fact, they insist that all attendees are POZ. HIV-Negative men and bug chasers are not allowed. Our hats are off to these valiant party hosts and others like them!" I am introduced to Bill Gardner the owner and founder of Hot Desert Knights (HDK) and discuss hosting my BRANDON'S POZ PARTY in Palm Springs, California at Camp Palm Springs. While visiting Bill at the HDK Studio, Bill introduces me to the owners of Camp Palm Springs - Casey and Ron - an soon BRANDON'S POZ PARTY - PALM SPRINGS is launched. Bill and I begin a long friendship and meet annually exchanging ideas, concerns and legal matters related to the American gay porn industry. We discuss the legal issues of HIV status disclosure for the porn industry and on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008 Bill makes a public announcement:
Hot Desert Knights Will Require Models to Test for HIV/STDs
The oldest, most established U.S. bareback company makes an agreement with Adult Industry Medical Healthcare to test all models for HIV/STDs.
"Condom-only studios address the situation by adopting a safe sex practice while performers are on the set, ostensibly eliminating the need for testing or the disclosure of a model’s HIV status." " Bareback companies have operated by a system of sero-sorting — pairing positive-with-positive or negative-with-negative performers, with the majority of these studios requiring the model to declare his status as opposed to providing documentation of current HIV/STD test results.
By contrast, HDK’s new policy is groundbreaking. "
“Myself and the AIM Healthcare Foundation are extremely proud of HDK and Mr. Bill Gardner for taking this ground breaking step in the area of HIV/STD prevention education and screening,” Mitchell said.
The gay porn industry in America was forever changed, made safer and HIV status disclosure accepted. Learn how Serosorting saved the American Gay Bareback Porn Industry from extinction. February / March 2007 - POZ Magazine publishes the article STATUS SEEKERS by Lucile Scott "In the late ’90s, having lived with HIV for more than a decade, Robert Brandon Sandor found himself, thanks to the protease revolution, suddenly looking at a longer life expectancy-—and looking for love." 2007 - HIV prevention strategies and messages in America become obsolete and worthless as the FIRST HIV-negative Empowerment Website is made public (www.HIV-UB2.net best viewed on your cellphone). This innovative website leads our HIV+ and HIV-negative communities where the HIV agencies and organizations nationwide do not.
June 17, 2013 - A community driven Sexual Freedom Of Choice outreach effort uniting both HIV+ and HIV- negative young adults is published. This is the FIRST booklet of it's kind in America that is written FOR our HIV-negative gay youth, and UNITING our HIV-negative and HIV+ gay communities. Empowerment, Trust, Communication, Unity, Harm Reduction, Prevention, HIV Testing, Making Friends, Belonging and MORE.
These topics are addressed in the "Sex Venue Etiquette Resource Guide" for America's sexually active gay and bisexual young men; because not everyone wants to get infected with HIV or wear condoms. A single publication, a foundation for national respect and understanding thereby RAISING the standard of HIV prevention in America.
TODAY - The HIV-negative community continues to thrive socially and sexually "underground" thanks to the internet and the HIV-negative "code" like; D&D FREE, HIV-UB2 and the like. Other MSM sites have taken notice and the BOY TOYS - NY concept evolves further to help meet the needs of the gay sexual subcultures worldwide.
At the same time, the HIV+ gay community leaps forward unrestricted with our own HIV+ sex parties, bareback porn and socials worldwide, thus proving that HIV stigma is gone, HIV status disclosure is increasing and we have stopped HIV. The copy cats that follow with: POZ radio, camping, cruises parties, t-shirts, Twitter groups, Face Book pages, # hash tags, websites and the like; help the HIV Awareness concepts of SEROSORTING and HIV STATUS DISCLOSURE evolve into a social and sexual Freedom Of Choice behavioral changes that are globally accepted and empowered.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Robert Brandon Sandor
USAF Vet (1979-1983)
Humanitarian Service Medal (1979)
Honorable Discharge (1983)
Activist, Author, Innovator